Flashback Friday | Hot Air Ballooning

One thing that Del Mar in San Diego County is known for is its hot air ballooning. The weather is stable, the temperature's perfect, and the views are spectacular.

I have been fascinated by hot air balloons ever since I was a child and saw The Wizard of Oz. 

This print available for purchase here.

photo credit: Disney

But I am most inspired by the greatest aviator and adventurer of modern times (in my opinion): the late Steve Fossett.

photo credit: Reuters news source

Hot air balloons have inspired many for generations. Some grand hotels, like Le Saint James in Paris, France, use them in their decor to take you higher, so to speak.

So when the old man surprised me for our ninth wedding anniversary a few years back with a hot air balloon ride - although I'm generally afraid of heights - I was sure that this experience would be incredible.

I enjoyed checking out all the baskets. They are sturdy works of art in their own right. 

The balloons are just these enormous swaths of brightly-colored silk, blown open with giant fans and the heat from flames, rising. 

First the fans to open up the silk:

Then the flames, to lift it up. You know, heat rises and all of that:

The next thing you know, we were up in the air!

While it made my palms sweat with nervousness, it was an incredible view.

You could see the tiny balloons in the distance that were just as big as yours, but took off just before or just after yours did.

There was a close call when a gust of wind almost blew us into the hillside. I won't lie and say I didn't do a duck-and-cover, bracing for impact! Everyone else in the basket laughed.

Look out below!

Landing can be rather harrowing, too.

Still, try it - the adrenaline rush is an aphrodesiac!

Happy Valentine's Day Eve and thanks for looking. :)


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